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The 2014 Rainbow Awards is an annual contest celebrating outstanding work in LGBT fiction and nonfiction. Hosted and owned by blogger Elisa Rolle, the contest is open to all authors of work containing LGBT fictional characters and work chronicling the true stories of LGBT persons.


1.       The book must be published between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014 inclusive.

2.       The book must contain prominent LGBT characters. In the case of romance categories, these characters must be engaged in the primary romance.

3.       The book must fit into one of the following categories:


Fiction (Non Romance):

Contemporary General Fiction


Young Adult






Fiction (Romance):

Contemporary Romance

Erotic Romance

Romantic Comedy

Historical Romance

Paranormal Romance

Fantasy Romance

Non Fiction:

General Non Fiction


        Visual Arts & Photography

Special Category:

Debut Fiction

Within these categories entries will be further subdivided by gender: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

4.       The following books are eligible:

a.       First time ebooks or print books, self-published also

b.      First time print editions of previously published ebooks

c.       Republication by a publisher providing it was previously self published by the author

5.       The following books are not eligible:

a.       Ebook editions of previously published print books

b.      Republication by a publisher if it was previously published by a different publisher


1.       Book submissions will be accepted between 1 February and 5 September 2014 inclusive.

2.       A book can only be submitted by its author or its publisher (covers can be submitted also by cover artist)

3.       The submission must clearly state which category applies.

4.       Books must be submitted in electronic format (PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI).

5.       By submitting the ebook, authors/publishers agree for its distribution with the only purpose of being read by the commission. It's recommended, but not mandatory, that the file has some kind of protection, like a specific disclaimer or similar.

6.       Submissions will be made via email to the following address:

1)      For Book Contest, please provide the following info (mandatory if not different stated):

                                                               i.      Author Name:

                                                             ii.      Contact Email:

                                                            iii.      Book Title:

                                                           iv.      Publisher:

                                                             v.      Release Date:

                                                           vi.      Gender: Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender (ONLY for Anthology / Collection AND Non Fiction also LGBT)

                                                          vii.      Genre: Contemporary General Fiction / Mystery Thriller / Young Adult / Sci-Fi Futuristic / Fantasy / Historical / Erotica / Anthology Collection / Contemporary Romance / Erotic Romance / Romantic Comedy / Historical Romance / Paranormal Romance / Fantasy Romance / General Non Fiction / Biography Memoir / Poetry / Visual Arts & Photography (ONLY for Anthology / Collection specify also subgenre: i.e. Anthology Collection Fantasy, Anthology Collection Paranormal Romance)

                                                        viii.      Debut Novel: Yes / No

                                                           ix.      Total Word Count: ? (must be equal or higher than 41,000 words)

                                                             x.      Comments: (not mandatory) please specify Charity name and amount

                                                           xi.      Attachment: please attach ebook to the email in PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI (preferably all three of them)

2)      For Cover Contest, please provide the following info (mandatory if not different stated):

                                                               i.      Artist Name:

                                                             ii.      Contact Email:

                                                            iii.      Author Name:

                                                           iv.      Book Title:

                                                             v.      Publisher:

                                                           vi.      Book Release Date:

                                                          vii.      Category: Illustration / Design

                                                        viii.      Comments: (not mandatory) please specify Charity name and amount

                                                           ix.      Attachment: please attach to the .jpg of the cover in a size no less than 400X600 pixels

7.       A Judge can submit books as either the author or publisher providing it is for a category which they are not reading for.

8.       A Judge may also nominate one book (their own or for another author) for inclusion in the contest. If the nomination is not for their own book, I will contact the author who will have to submit the book: nomination is not submission, submission is always made by authors/publishers. The author is not told until the conclusion of the contest who nominated their book.

9.       There is no submission fee, but it’s our suggestion to donate an equivalent amount per book to a selected LGBT non-profit charitable organization: once submitting please provide in Comments field Charity name and amount you will commit to donate. Suggested amount: Book Contest, 25 USD per submission; Cover Contest, 3 USD per cover.  The selected charities for 2014 are (but you can choose even a different one):

1)      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. is dedicated to engaging in effective advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. We are committed to ensuring the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of youth and young adults struggling due to sexual orientation or gender identity issues. (

2)      The Albert Kennedy Trust supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless young people in crisis. Every day we deal with the effects homelessness can have on young people's lives. We have offices in London, Manchester and Newcastle. (

3)      Ali Forney Center in NYC which provides homeless LGBT youth with shelter, food, and counseling. The Ali Forney Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization funded by private foundations, government grants and the generosity of individuals, local businesses and the community at large. (

4)      The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities. (

5)      Australian Marriage Equality is a national organisation working for equal marriage for all consenting adults, as we a believe person’s gender or sexuality should not affect their legal rights and responsibilities under Australian marriage law. (

6)      BiNet USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit advocating for bisexual communities in the U.S. since 1990. (

7)      CARE Program: AIDS HIV Services in Long Beach, to make high quality health and social services available to HIV/AIDS infected and affected individuals and families in a manner that is professional, compassionate, and recognizes the dignity and autonomy of each individual. (

8)      The Center: To engage, empower, enrich, and advance the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of Colorado – by ensuring that every member of the LGBT community has access to the programs and resources they need to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. (

9)      The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland works to advance the rights, respect and diversity of the LGBT community. (

10)   COLORS is a free LGBTQ Youth & Counseling Center serving the needs of Los Angeles-area Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) youth 24 and under. COLORS opened its doors in January 2012 in Downtown Los Angeles, providing free therapy and support to LGBTQ youth and their families (

11)   Covenant House: offer kids protection from the streets and from their past. Stress the reality of the present moment, and encourage belief in their potential for the future. (

12)   The Diversity Center: Enhancing lives and promoting fairness for LGBTQ people in Santa Cruz County. (

13)   Diversity Role Model: to eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying by providing high quality, pioneering educational workshops involving role models and through collaborating with individuals and organisations. We value diversity and equality, creativity and innovation, communication and role modelling, and inter-generational learning. (

14)   The Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia (GALFA) is a charitable foundation whose purpose is to provide funds for charitable activities/organisations which have as their sole or chief purpose/outcome, the good and betterment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex people and allied communities, in Australia. (

15)   Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence or domestic abuse.  They also support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system.  They are a completely  independent community-led group and are not connected to the police (

16)   Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York: GLYS offers a variety of opportunities & services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & questioning youth and  their friends, ages 14-21. (

17)   The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. (             

18)   In Other Words is a non-profit, volunteer-run, feminist community center in Portland, Oregon. To support, enrich, and empower the feminist community through literature, art, and educational and cultural events. (

19)   The Inland Northwest LGBT Center: Building a vibrant LGBTQ community through collaborative programs promoting Advocacy, Education and Wellness. The Center provides services to Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. (

20)   The It Gets Better Project's mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. (

21)   Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. ( 

22)   Lambert House is a center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning youth that empowers youth through the development of leadership, social and life skills. (

23)   Lancaster LGBT Center: To create common ground for the LGBT community and allies in central Pennsylvania by providing services through educational, cultural, and community activities that foster wholeness. (

24)   LEAP: Supporting young adults and nurturing leaders in the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender  community. (

25)   Los Angeles LGBT Center: Empower people to lead full and rewarding lives without limits based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by providing the highest quality educational, cultural, and wellness programs to residents of Los Angeles County. (

26)   Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. is Atlanta's only nonprofit agency actively working to take homeless LGBT youth off the street. (

27)   The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is dedicated to serving the needs of LGBTQ people and to making the Greater Milwaukee area safer and more inclusive. The Center offers programming around anti-violence, healthy relationships, counseling, financial coaching, as well as a lending library with over 2000 LGBT titles, meeting space for over 100 groups during the year, computer/internet access, and resource referrals. (

28)   Moveable Feast provides nutritious foods and other services in order to preserve quality of life for people with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions. (

29)   Odyssey Youth Center is a youth-led, adult-supported organization committed to creating, sustaining, and advocating for safe and affirming programs, policies, and services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth community. (

30)   Out Youth promotes the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well being of sexual and gender minority youth so that they can openly and safely explore and affirm their identities. (

31)   Pathfinders is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk young people through a variety of facilities and services. Pathfinders oversees the Q-BLOK program, a housing initiative designed specifically to help LGBT youth ages 18-25. (

32)   PFLAG: Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and societal acceptance of LGBT people through its threefold mission of support, education and advocacy. (

33)   Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society. (

34)   Ruth Ellis Center: The mission of the Ruth Ellis Center is to provide short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk gay, lesbian, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning youth. (

35)   SAGE aims to help LGBTQ elders in the following ways: Employment support through training and advocacy, Advocacy for LGBTQ elders in long-term care, Policy study on aging among LGBTQ people, Support and planning for LGBTQ elders undergoing life changes and their families, Creating an archive of LGBTQ life stories written by elders, to diversify public understanding of aging, LGBTQ lives, and long term care. (

36)   Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland is a national human rights NGO. Seta aims for a society of equality and individual welfare that includes everyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. (    

37)   Terrence Higgins Trust: Maximise sexual health in the UK, and minimise the spread of HIV and STIs, by encouraging people to value their sexual health and by leading innovation to increase access to local sexual health services. (

38)   The Trevor Project: Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. (

39)   UCAN is a Chicago organization. They serve homeless youth (emphasis on LGBTQ). Vision: Youth who suffer trauma can become our future leaders. Mission: To build strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education, and empowerment. (

40)   The William Way Community Center encourages, supports, and advocates for the well-being and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities in the Greater Philadelphia region through service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming. (

41)   You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit. (

42)   The mission of the You Will Rise Project is to provide a multimedia showcase for people of all ages who have been bullied to share their stories through the arts. Submissions can include visual art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, etc.) as well as poetry, song lyrics, short stories, or other creative expressions that best capture their personal experiences. (

43)   YouthCare builds confidence and self-sufficiency for homeless youth in Seattle by providing a continuum of care that includes outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training. ( 


1.       A book can be submitted in only one category unless it is also being submitted in Debut Fiction.

2.       If a category receives fewer than five (5) submissions, the category will not be active in this awards cycle. The submitted books will be reassigned to parent category in the Category Tree. The Category tree is:

a.       Fiction

                                                               i.      General Fiction

1.       Contemporary

a.       Contemporary General Fiction

b.      Mystery / Thriller

c.       Young Adult

2.       Alternative Reality

a.       Sci-Fi / Futuristic

b.      Fantasy

3.       Historical

                                                             ii.      Romance

1.       Contemporary

a.       Contemporary Romance

b.      Erotic Romance

c.       Romantic Comedy

2.       Historical Romance

3.       Alternative Reality

a.       Paranormal Romance

b.      Fantasy Romance

                                                          iii.      Erotica

                                                           iv.      Anthology / Collection

1.       Contemporary General Fiction

2.       Mystery / Thriller

3.       Young Adult

4.       Sci-Fi / Futuristic

5.       Fantasy

6.       Historical

7.       Contemporary Romance

8.       Erotic Romance

9.       Romantic Comedy

10.   Historical Romance

11.   Paranormal Romance

12.   Fantasy Romance

13.   Erotica

b.      Non Fiction

                                                              i.      Biography / Memoir

                                                            ii.      General Non Fiction

                                                          iii.      Poetry

                                                           iv.      Visual Arts / Photography

3.       In addition to specifying which Genre Category applies (see Eligibility Section) the submission must also state which Gender Category applies. There will be not reassignment cross-gender, i.e. if there aren’t at least 5 submissions for Bisexual Contemporary Romance AND Bisexual Erotic Romance, all submissions WILL BE reassigned to Bisexual Contemporary; they WILL NOT BE reassigned to LGBT Contemporary Romance.

4.       Special Category: Debut Fiction. This is considered the first published stand-alone book in print or ebook of more than 41000 words meeting the eligibility requirements.

5.       A novel is defined as a work of more than 41000 words.

6.       A novella is a work of between 18000 and 41000 words. Novellas will only be considered when submitted as a collection of two or more in the one publication by the same author, with the total publication exceeding 41000 words. For various authors, please refer to Anthology / Collection category.

7.       A short story is a work of less than 18000 words. Short Stories will only be considered when submitted as a collection of four or more in one publication by the same author, with the total publication exceeding 41000 words. For various authors, please refer to Anthology / Collection category.


1.       Judges will not judge any books which they have written, published or edited.

2.       Judges will be required to read entries from 1 March to 30 November 2014 inclusive.

3.       Judges must indicate prior to the commencement of reading which categories they are not comfortable reading.

4.       Each Judge will be required to read a minimum of 3 books and will only be sent the books they are required to read.

5.       Each book will be judged using 4 different criteria: Plot Development, Setting Development, Characters Development and Writing Style. Judges will rate entries in a range of 1 to 10 points for each criteria.

6.       There will be two separate reading periods:

a.       First period: from 1 March 2014 to 30 September 2014; each book will be read and scored by 3 different judges. At the end of this period, a shortlist of no less than 3 books for each category will be announced on 15 October 2014.

b.      Second period: from 1 October 2014 to 30 November 2014; all finalists for each category will be read by 3 to 5 judges. Winners will be announced in December 2015.

In 2013 The Rainbow Awards teamed up with The Rainbow Romance Writers (a chapter of The Romance Writers Of America) to help manage and co-ordinate the competition. One advantage of this relationship was that RRW had the online facilities to collect monies and this led us to the decision to try and use the Awards as an opportunity to raise funds for LGBT non-profit charitable organizations, namely the Ali Forney Center in NYC and COLOURS in Los Angeles. Sadly in spite of raising over $6500, as a direct result of the actions of one entrant to the competition, we have decided that for 2014 we will not collect any charitable contributions from entrants and as such we will not be collecting submission fees.

That said we would not wish these two Charities to suffer as a result and we would like all of those submitting books to enter into the spirit of giving within our community and helping those who are in need through a direct donation to either of the two charities. (Details in the Submission Guidelines).

The gay and lesbian world is interconnected in many ways and this is especially true in the world of LGBT fiction with the rise of social media, internet groups and other online activities. The community prides itself in the support given to new and aspiring authors from many sources and in many ways, with the ultimate aim always being to not only give something back to the community but also to enable all of us to have the pleasure of more good quality books available. This support includes reviewing, beta-reading, running book groups and so on.

Qualified judges usually have ties throughout our community and by necessity they are well read, in fact usually voracious readers who care passionately about books and their quality. Many of them are already active volunteers within the LGBT fiction community as previously described and it is recognized that entrants may already be known to Judges. This is an issue that is not exclusive to the Rainbow Awards. Our rules have always been clear that, in order to prevent any undue bias, anyone who is the author, publisher or editor of a nominated book is not allowed to judge that book. Likewise, a Judge may nominate a book for any category providing that they are not then involved in the judging of that book. In addition not only do the Judges follow clear judging guidelines but any book reaching the finals will have been judged by 6 to 8 different judges. Candidates wishing to be judges for 2014 are welcomed, please contact Elisa Rolle at If you have not judged for this contest before, please give a short introduction explaining why you wish to participate in the jury for this contest.

As always we had a close look at the guidelines and refined them so that they reflect the process with the utmost clarity. Please make sure to read them before submitting or before volunteering to judge.

From: [personal profile] porriwiggle
I have two novellas I would like to enter, but I'm not sure whether or not they qualify - the print edition combines them as a two-story anthology, but as ebooks they're only available individually. Would they be eligible, please?
From: [personal profile] porriwiggle
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer and for making the process so clear.

book in 2 parts

Date: 2014-12-08 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm interested in submitting, but I sell my book in two parts because of the length (over 200K). If I submitted it, would it count as one or two books? If it would count as one book, should I submit it as a single file?


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